(WXYZ) — He was an assistant attorney general who resigned after admitting to a relationship with a victim in a rape case. Brian Kolodziej was also the lead prosecutor on another controversial sex crimes case first exposed by the 7 Investigators.
Now Kolodziej is charged with two felonies.
“We are charging Brian Kolodziej with two criminal felony counts, the common law charge of Misconduct in Office,” said Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker during a virtual news conference held via Zoom Thursday.
Those charges relate to alleged crimes committed in an Isabella County case.
Becker was assigned as a special prosecutor to avoid conflicts of interest in counties where Kolodziej previously worked.
The Michigan State Police investigated Kolodziej after he was forced to resign from the attorney general’s office in September of 2019.
Attorney General Dana Nessel revealed at the time that Kolodziej had admitted to a relationship with a victim in a rape case from Isabella County. Ian Elliott later pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge in that case.
“We can’t go into facts or details as to why, what led to those decisions," Becker said. "We will have to let the court process play out. We are not charging him with anything related out of the Oakland County case, the MacMaster/Orr case.”
Kolodziej was the lead prosecutor on an Oakland County case where Nessel had charged a police officer, Sean MacMaster, and his stepfather, Larry Orr, with sexually abusing the officer’s young daughter. Both men had been cleared by the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Sex Crimes Unit and Oakland County Sheriff’s detectives. Both men each passed multiple polygraph examinations, and both men denied the allegations. A detective from Michigan State Police Lapeer Post also previously refused to pursue the case.
Law enforcement officials say the MacMaster case stemmed from a contentious custody battle. During the Oakland County investigation, Johanna MacMaster was recorded while trying to get Sean to terminate his parental rights in exchange for making the criminal case go away.
“I can give you a get out of jail free card, and I can help you,” said Johanna on the recording.
After the 7 Investigators exposed questions about Kolodziej’s actions during the case, Nessel dismissed the charges saying the former career prosecutor’s actions were “tantamount to serious violations of our prosecutorial standards.”
“He was very involved with Johanna MacMaster and the alleged victim in this case, in Oakland County. He took them to the Detroit Institute of Arts, he took them on a therapy riding session, he had a squirt gun fight in his office. There’s evidence that he may have played a guitar and sang her songs. Highly unusual behavior,” said Becker, but added that it did not rise to the level of criminal charges.
Becker also detailed the origins of the MacMaster case, which previously had not been made public.
According to Becker, in 2018, Johanna MacMaster spoke to her cousin, who worked for the Macomb County Prosecutor’s office. Becker said the cousin and Kolodziej had previously dated, and said when Kolodziej went to the AG’s office, he “shepherded the case” along. Becker also said AG Nessel and Asst. AG Danielle Hagaman-Clark all played roles in the case, and signed off on search warrants and charges.
Becker said Kolodziej at one point asked Michigan State Police trooper David Busacca to change his police report to hide Kolodziej’s early involvement with the case. Becker said that MSP allows a report to be changed if supervisors approve it, which they did in this case.
As part of the investigation, Becker reviewed perjury allegations against Michigan State Police trooper David Busacca, and said he found no evidence of perjury.
Becker admitted that he never spoke to anyone from the Oakland County Sheriff’s or prosecutor’s office, where officials had previously expressed concern about Busacca statements made under oath.
Busacca’s attorney, Gina Puzzoli, previously told the 7 Investigators, “Our response is that the law enforcement officials who are making these false and unsubstantiated accusations against Trooper David Busacca are the individuals who need to be investigated to determine what their motives and personal interests really are with respect to the Orr/McMaster case.”
When asked why Busacca swore under oath in an affidavit that semen stains were found during a search warrant execution in the MacMaster case, Becker admitted he did not know that a judge has ruled that no semen was found based on the testimony of four lab technicians.
“So you never actually spoke to any of the lab techs,” asked 7 Investigator Heather Catallo during the press conference.
“No, I mean – we had lab reports from them, so unless the reports were forged or something like that – that would be unusual in my experience,” Becker said.
“There is testimony under oath in a different case that disputes that,” Catallo said.
“I’m aware of that at all,” Becker responded.
During an Alachua County, Florida case –– where Johanna MacMaster and Sean MacMaster are still undergoing family court disputes –– two judges have ruled that none of the child’s statements about alleged abuse are reliable.
A judge also heard testimony from four MSP Forensic Biology Unit experts who said under oath they “found no semen in the Orr home. The court further finds that to make a representation that semen was present where lab workers explicitly testified before this court that semen was found was reckless.”
With ongoing litigation that has uncovered new evidence and information, it’s unclear why anyone from the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office never reached out to Sean MacMaster or his attorneys as part of their investigation into Kolodziej and Busacca.
“Mr. MacMaster is disappointed by the special prosecutor’s decision not to pursue charges in this case. Sean has dedicated his life to protecting and serving his fellow citizens as a police officer and firmly believes that when people violate the public trust and harm others, they should be held accountable," said Alona Sharon, MacMaster’s attorney. "We disagree with the prosecutor’s view of the evidence. Contrary to the statements at the press conference, all of the Michigan State Police lab technicians involved in this case have testified under oath that no semen was found. I don’t know why the prosecutor didn’t review this evidence.”
“I am shocked that no one from the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office ever reached out to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office to talk to us about our investigations that clearly showed that these alleged assaults never took place,” said Undersheriff Mike McCabe in a statement to the 7 Investigators.
We did reach out to Brian Kolodziej for comment on the new charges. So far he has not gotten back to us.
“I would like to thank Prosecutor Becker and his team at the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office, along with the Michigan State Police, especially Det. Sgt. Jacquelyn Stasiak, for their thorough investigation and all of the hard work they put into this case," said Attorney General Dana Nessel. "We condemned Mr. Kolodziej’s actions when we first discovered them, and we support Prosecutor Becker in his pursuit of justice and will continue to cooperate with his office’s efforts as this case moves forward.”